A trio of Southwest Louisiana athletes won a pair gold medals at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association state track and field championships Saturday at LSU's Bernie Moore Track Stadium.
Early morning rains pushed the start of the meet back more than 2 hours and several of the field events were moved indoors to the C. Maddox Field House, but that didn't bother Westlake junior Keonda Johnson. She successfully defended her Class 3A long jump title and added another in the triple jump.
In the long jump, she beat last year's runner-up Dreunna Washington (North Webster) by a quarter-inch with a distance of 17 feet, 51⁄4 inches and jumped 36 feet, 81⁄2 inches in the triple jump.
St. Louis Catholic sophomore Ivan Appleton won gold in the 1,600- (4:32.85) and 3200-meter runs (10:07.71), running his top times of the season in both events.
Leesville's Faith Outing won the girls Class 4A 400 (56.07) after placing third last year and topped the field in the 800 (2:31.45).
Washington-Marion's Michael Taylor beat No. 1 seed and District 4-3A rival Xavier Goodly (21-103⁄4) of Westlake to win the Class 3A long jump (22-21⁄2). Goodly bounced back to win the triple jump (45-111⁄2) by 21⁄4 inches over Bogalusa's Raheem Roberts.
Westlake's Brock Meyer didn't enter the 3A boys pole vault competition until the rest of the field had already been eliminated and won with a height of 15-3.
Sam Houston had a pair of gold medalist in Bryan Soileau, who won 5A boys high jump (6-2) and sophomore Halyn Senegal, who ran a personal best to win the girls 5A 800 (2:16.84) after going in seeded fourth.
South Beauregard eighth-grader Trinity Spooner edged St. Louis freshman Emma Freeman by 7 inches for the Class 3A girls javelin title with a throw of 113-8. On the boys side, St. Louis' Gabriel Meyer threw a season-best 176-4 to win his first state javelin championship. Freeman won a gold medal in the discus (99-7).
Leesville's Latavious Stewart won gold in the boys 4A 300 hurdles (39.55) and DeRidder's Caroline Wolley won the 4A girls shot put (35-9).
During Friday's Class 1A and 2A meet, Grand Lake's Vedder defended his 1A pole vault title (13-6) while teammate Luke Benoit won the long jump (22-5) and Oberlin's Chloe Peloquin (1A girls pole vault, 10-0) and Heidi Meiner (girls 800, 2:26.86) also won gold. Merryville's Mekyah Hooper won the girls high jump (5-2) and 400-meter run (1:01.10).